“First lady, Wal-Mart reach pact on nutrition”

by Walter Olson on January 21, 2011

It’s disturbing to think of the federal government’s pressuring and jawboning a private business to reformulate perfectly lawful products, cut prices on some lines of goods, and so forth. In this case, however, as I told the Washington Times, there’s reason to think the nation’s largest retailer might have wanted to proceed with a “healthy-eating” remake anyway, and this way it can get Michelle Obama’s valuable endorsement with all the attendant publicity. Bonus: Ms. Obama has now vocally backed the idea of opening Wal-Marts in more “underserved areas” such as urban neighborhoods without full-line supermarkets; in the past union and local-merchant opposition has often stymied Wal-Mart’s wish to enter such neighborhoods.

P.S. Coincident news story: creepy pro-union group pickets home of developer who hopes to bring Wal-Mart to the District of Columbia. And Ira Stoll has covered the sometimes-exaggerated extent of “food deserts”.

{ 4 comments }

1 Bob Lipton 01.21.11 at 8:54 am

I happen to think that the First Lady jawboning issues is fine.

Bob

2 Amy Alkon 01.21.11 at 12:55 pm

One huge problem? The government is largely responsible for the obesity epidemic. The first food pyramid was written by an aide to George McGovern with zero science experience (per Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories”). Also per Taubes, and contrary to the government-promoted notion that you should eat a high carb/low-fat diet, it is carbohydrates that cause the insulin secretion that puts on fat.

Walmart will no doubt leave those health stickers off the food that actually is healthy for you, steak, bacon, full-fat salad dressing, butter, etc. If you don’t eat carbohydrates, or many carbohydrates, you will be slim and healthy eating those foods (and buttered green vegetables).

3 JWB 01.21.11 at 6:57 pm

I love that they added a smiley-face to their creepy rifle-scope graphic.

4 William Nuesslein 01.24.11 at 10:54 am

By the 1960’s it was clear that smoking was deleterious to health and people speculated about the effects of nicotine and tar in cigarettes, and the levels of nicotine and tars was disclosed and varied from brand to brand. In particular there was a market for “low nicotine” cigarettes. It happened that people who smoke need nicotine and they smoked more low nicotine cigarettes to get a sufficient dose.

I was sick recently and switch from regular milk (4% milk fat) to low fat milk (1%). Not supprisingly I found myself drinking more of the later. I’ve switched back to the regular milk.

I have no problem with tinkering with our food supply for public health reasons – fortifying bread and adding Iodine to salt come to mind. But the science backing Mayor Bloomberg and Mrs. Obama is dubious at best.

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